Charlie Box: Takes issue with Magby Creek editorial

March 12, 2011 10:18:00 PM



As councilman for Ward 3, I feel compelled to write in protest to your editorial in Friday''s paper, "Taming Magby Creek Too Costly." I have always been a fan of the paper, but in the last few months I have watched as editorial after editorial depicts me and my fellow city councilmen as a bunch of incompetents with no idea of what we are doing. 


How can you just write off an important part of our city like Masonic Subdivision and say "enough has been done?" Who are you to say that the area "doesn''t deserve the money that would have to be spent?" These people are our fellow citizens who live in that area, they are taxpayers just like you who have flood insurance on their property.  


Many of them buy your paper, but I would think that most of them would probably cancel their subscriptions after senseless suggestion to write the area off. If your ridiculous thinking had been followed we would have just written off all the property and homes on Hwy. 45 and 182 that have been underwater due to the Lux and Tombigbee flooding. Was dredging the Lux too expensive to correct the flooding along its banks? 


It was pretty obvious to me that who ever wrote the article had done very little research, when the first sentence of the article stated that Magby Creek is in North Columbus. Yes, Masonic Subdivision, in East Columbus, does flood when the creek is up, but several other areas in East Columbus also flood and are affected by this creek. Do you have any idea of how much tax that area brings into the city every year? According to Gregg Andrews just Masonic Subdivision pays $115,000 each year and I assure you that the City of Columbus has not spent near that amount over the last 10 years on flooding. 


I can not understand why your paper is so opposed to the "Stage Gauges" that have been suggested to monitor the rivers rise, I suggested these gauges on the recommendations of the Corps of Engineers and the National Weather Service. You have opined at least twice on the gauges and both times you have doubled the cost of what the entire system would cost. Yes, doubled the cost. I would say that is a rather substantial error that has never been corrected after I told your writer about it the first time. To set the record straight, $34,413 would be the initial actual cost for the city and county over a two-year period. 


But perhaps the one thing that aggravated me the most about this article was your statement, "Want to know if the Magby will flood, look outside." I would like to give you the phone numbers of a few senior citizens who have lived out there most of their lives. A Mrs. Ward, a Mrs. Cantrell, a Mrs. Mims and let you tell that to them this week when they woke up to find water lapping up on the side of their houses.  


When they went to bed Tuesday night they were told that the water would not get in the subdivision. Somebody was wrong again. A stage gauge would have given them six hours of warning. If it''s not worthwhile, why does the National Weather Service want it? 


You say "the cost of fixing the problem far out weighs the return." Another totally ridiculous statement because you have done no research to determine what a fix might be. When you do the research, when you come up with some figures, when you have talked to the experts, then present your facts and show us where it''s too costly to save an entire neighborhood. 


Our congressmen think it''s an area worth doing something about. Rep. Childress was battling in Congress to get some relief for the area and I have talked with Rep. Nunnelee''s staff and they assure me that this is something that Rep. Nunnelee is aware of and onboard to try to do something about it. 


I am committed to finding a solution to the problem and I would hope that our local paper would join us by putting pressure on our state and national leaders and on the Corps of Engineers until they listen to us.